How to Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor pergola with lights at night

June 16, 2021

Enjoying the peace and quiet of the night in the comfort of your own backyard can be a brightening experience with the right lights. It will set an ambience and provide extra security for your home. Here are a few of our suggestions to consider when installing outdoor lighting: Rules & Regulations, Power, and Aesthetic.

Rules & Regulations

There are city and county ordinances on landscaping that need to be followed. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, double-check their regulations to avoid neighborhood challenges. Many times, LED solar-powered lamps that are simply placed into the soil have no restrictions. We advise reviewing local rules and regulations about outdoor lighting to prevent obstacles and lay a proper foundation for your outdoor lighting design. Our team at Rock Electric can help plan and install your outdoor lighting from start to finish while making sure the work is done to code to pass city and county inspections. 


Any hardwired fixtures require wiring. This is best done by a certified electrician. Powering your outdoor lighting is critical in the design process as it will ensure safety and the longevity of its function. If you’ll be running power lines through walls, using line voltage, or simply installing lights in new places, call Rock Electric to ensure the proper care is taken. When you communicate your dream outdoor living design to our professionals, we can help you decide whether or not an electrical panel would be beneficial while considering the ideal position for it.

If you plan on DIY solar or low-voltage outdoor lighting, here are our suggestions on installation: 

Installing Low-Voltage Outdoor Lighting

  • First, spend time reading through the manufacturer’s instructions. We know, it’s annoying to sit and read something that appears so simple, but it will make everything much easier if you just read through the manufacturer’s instructions first so that negligence won’t require you to start all over.
  • Assemble your tools:
    • tape measure
    • drill
    • screws
    • shovel
    • transformer
    • landscape lighting wire
    • waterproof wire connectors
    • wire cutters
    • electrical tape
    • wire strippers
  • Measure the length of the area where you are installing your outdoor lights. You want to make sure you have the right amount of landscape lighting wire. Measure from the transformer to where you want the lighting to stop and make sure to choose a wire that can handle the wattage from your transformer.
  • Turn off your power. You don’t want to be zapped!
  • Remember the first step about spending time to read the manufacturer’s instructions? Well, this is where it comes in handy. Your transformer should be mounted next to the GFCI outlet on the outside of your home. Make sure it’s at least 12 inches above the ground as you may need to drill a hole to attach it to the side of your home. The manufacturer’s instructions will have directions to properly wire your transformer.
  • Lay the cable down where you want your outdoor yard lights and make sure the cable is at least 6 inches from any pathway. The light’s stakes can mark where you want the lights to run along the cable. The manufacturer’s instructions will also inform you about how to connect the lights to the cable.
  • You’ll need to dig a 6-inch trench where you’re laying the cable because you don’t want the wires in the way of mowing or the hazard of tripping over them. Before burying the cable though, test the lights to make sure they work. 

Installing Solar Outdoor Lighting

With these three simple steps, solar outdoor lighting can be installed into the ground: 

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions. Yup, this again. It’s just always a good idea. While you’re reading, lay out your outdoor yard lights to soak in the sun. Best to do it for a whole day so you can see if any of the lights aren’t working.
  • Next, lay the lights in the places you want to install them. You’ll want to keep them 6-inches away from pathways and at least a foot away from each other.
  • Lastly, it’s time to put them in the ground. One trick to get them in easier is to pour some water where you’ll stake the lights. Once the dirt is softened, just push the stakes into their spot and attach the lights to them. 


What is the purpose of your light? You’ll have a better idea of what your lighting can look like once you hone in on what purpose it will serve in your outdoor space. LED lights have become very popular and so the aesthetic variety in which they come has also increased. At Rock Electric, we can help you determine which lights are best suitable for your outdoor lighting design. Our team of certified electricians bring decades of combined experiences that will bring a keen perspective to your outdoor lighting design. We pride ourselves on consistently delivering the highest quality service and products while ensuring integrity with our up-front pricing. We will provide a free estimate that details the work we’ll perform. We also offer easy financing options to help make your dream outdoor living experience a reality. 

If you need electrical assistance with any of the following projects in Puget Sound, please call Rock Electric at (253) 999-9814 and we’ll be ready to serve you. We invite you to peruse these suggested links on our website to further investigate your outdoor lighting options:

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